Legislative roundup: Changes in payroll laws and regulations from across Canada

Reminder: Good Friday a statutory holiday • Nova Scotia minimum wages increased April 1 • Ontario proposes to index minimum wage • Quebec minimum wage increasing May 1 • Yukon minimum wage increased April 1


Reminder: Good Friday a statutory holiday

Friday, April 18, is Good Friday. It is a statutory holiday under employment standards law in all Canadian jurisdictions. In Quebec, employers may designate either Good Friday or Easter Monday (April 21) as the statutory holiday.


Reminder: Minimum wages increased April 1

Effective April 1, the minimum wage rates in Nova Scotia went up. For experienced workers (those with at least three months’ experience in their job), the rate rose from $10.30 per hour to $10.40.

The rate for inexperienced workers increased from $9.80 per hour to $9.90. The provincial government adjusts minimum wages annually based on the previous year’s national consumer price index.


Government proposes to index minimum wage

The Ontario government has introduced legislation to index the province’s minimum wage rates to the consumer price index (CPI), beginning Oct. 1, 2015.

Bill 165, the Fair Minimum Wage Act, 2014, would require the government adjust the general minimum wage rate every year by the percentage change in the Ontario CPI between the two previous years. For instance, to determine the general minimum wage rate for 2015, the government would multiply the 2014 rate by the percentage change between the 2013 CPI and the 2014 CPI.

The other minimum wage rates for specific job categories (such as students or liquor servers) would increase proportionately to the general minimum wage.

Any adjustments that would result in an amount that is not a multiple of five cents would be rounded up or down to the nearest nickel. If an adjustment would result in a decrease in minimum wage rates, the government would not change the rate.

The bill would also require the government to announce increases to the general minimum wage and all other categories by April 1 each year to give employers time to adjust to the change. In addition, it would mandate the province to carry out a full review of the minimum wage rates and the process for changing them every five years.

The proposed legislation follows the province’s announcement earlier this year that it would raise the minimum wage rates on June 1. The general minimum wage is slated to increase from $10.25 an hour to $11 at that time.


Reminder: Minimum wage increasing May 1

Effective May 1, Quebec will increase the provincial general minimum wage rate from $10.15 per hour to $10.35. The rate change will also apply to employees in specified sectors of the clothing industry.

The rate for employees who receive tips will rise from $8.75 an hour to $8.90. The minimum amount paid to employees who pick raspberries will rise from $2.98 per kilogram to $3.04 and the rate for strawberry pickers will go up from $0.79 per kilogram to $0.81.


Minimum wage increased April 1

Effective April 1, the minimum wage rate in Yukon increased from $10.54 per hour to $10.72. The minimum wage rate is indexed to the consumer price index and is adjusted every year on April 1.

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